Bloomberg Reflects on Super Tuesday By SARA KUGLER, associated press
Mayor Michael Bloomberg, a potential independent candidate for president, said Wednesday he is engaged in an experiment to influence the race. Asked at a news conference to comment on the outcome of Super Tuesday's multistate contests, Bloomberg described the Republican competition as a horse race and said the two Democratic candidates were still both very much in contention. None of it, he was quick to point out, affects his plans, because he's not a candidate. But that doesn't mean he's going to stop talking about the race. Asked whether someone can truly influence the national debate without being a candidate, Bloomberg said he didn't know. "We're doing that experiment right now," he said. "I think I have an obligation to try to do it." The 65-year-old billionaire, who founded the financial information company that bears his name, would bankroll his own presidential bid and does not need to worry about fundraising or spending a few million dollars on assembling the beginnings of a campaign that ultimately might not happen. Bloomberg has long criticized the declared candidates, seeking to paint them as partisans with no ideas. He claims he is speaking out against all not because he is preparing to launch his own presidential bid, but because he wants to influence the national debate on the major issues of the campaigns. Meanwhile, Bloomberg aides are laying the groundwork for a presidential campaign, including state-by-state plans to get his name on the ballot and sophisticated polling to assess his chances — operations that the mayor refuses to acknowledge publicly. Associates told The Associated Press this week that Bloomberg could very well begin gathering signatures to get his name on the ballot in a number of states before he has made a final decision about whether to run. The lack of a clear winner on the Democratic side and a GOP contest with several candidates only encourages him, according to associates. The Bloomberg camp believes he has a better shot the longer the parties don't rally around a single nominee.